REED CITY — When the regular season tipped off for the Reed City, it was no secret the Coyotes were young and would be counting heavily on some of the returning players.

That includes Alanna Nelson, a junior guard, who continues to play a key role for her team. On Friday, the Coyotes held back Grant in overtime 58-55. The win put the Coyotes at 3-4 overall and 1-2 in the Central State Activities Association Gold Division.

“I thought we came out harder than we usually do,” she said after the game, “We battled through it. We’ve been practicing hard and figuring out how to come out hard. I’m glad we came out hard.”

In the past, the Coyotes have struggled to come out strong and have had to catch up at the end. It was a reverse of sorts against Grant.

The Coyotes had been off for three weeks from the holiday break.

“I think we came back OK,” Nelson said. “I think the rest of the season is going to be great too.”

It’s Nelson’s second varsity season. She indicated she has improved “a lot more. I play a lot more and my shooting is a lot better.”

As a shooting guard, Nelson has been striving to be a better shooter.

“I’ve been making a lot of 3-pointers and driving a lot more than last year,” she said.

The key, Nelson said, to be an effective 3-point shooter is to “practice, practice,” she said, “You can’t force it.”

Being at the .500 mark “is about what we expected,” Nelson indicated. “I think we’re going to win a lot more. Boxing out and rebounding (is critical). We need to slow down at key times.”

The Coyotes are scheduled for CSAA action Wednesday at home against Tri County and Friday at Chippewa Hills. They will host Big Rapids on Tuesday, Jan. 17, in a varsity girls-boys doubleheader. The girls tip off at 5:30 p.m.